Caeleb Dressel finishes with nine medals, six gold; U.S. dominates short course worlds

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Caeleb Dressel and Kelsi Dahlia each earned nine medals, while Mallory Comerford and Olivia Smoliga racked up eight each as the U.S. easily topped the medal standings at the world short-course swimming championships that ended Sunday.

Dressel won his first individual title of the meet in Sunday’s 100m freestyle, lowering his American record by clocking 45.62 seconds and edging Russian Vladimir Morozov by .02.

Dressel also swam butterfly on the medley relay for his sixth gold and ninth medal of the meet in Hangzhou, China. Five of the golds and one silver came on relays. Last year, Dressel earned a Michael Phelps record-tying seven golds at the world championships in an Olympic-size pool.

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Short-course worlds are held in even years in 25-meter pools rather than 50-meter pools used at the Olympics. U.S. Olympic champions Katie LedeckySimone Manuel and Lilly King are among those not competing this week. Phelps competed at short-course worlds once in his career, when the U.S. hosted in 2004.

Dahlia surpassed Dressel with seven golds this past week, including six relay titles. Smoliga had eight golds in eight events (six on relays).

Like Dressel, Dahlia picked up her first individual gold on Sunday, taking the 100m butterfly in 55.01, a shade slower than her American record. She won by 1.21 seconds over countrywoman Kendyl Stewart. Swede Sarah Sjöström, who won the last three world titles in an Olympic-size pool, plus Rio gold, skipped short-course worlds.

The U.S. earned 17 golds and 36 total medals in 46 events, distancing second-place Russia, which had six golds and 14 medals.

Next for U.S. swimmers: the 2019 Tyr Pro Swim Series starts the second week of January in Knoxville, Tenn. Ledecky is expected to headline the field.

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